What You Don't Know About Anna Delvey

Anna Delvey is the subject of the new Netflix series from Shonda Rhimes, "Inventing Anna." The show, which quickly shot to the streamer's top spot, tells the story of a 25-year-old German fashionista who moves to New York to pursue her dream. Here's the hitch: The young woman sets her sights on developing a massive, exclusive arts club on Park Avenue, the Anna Delvey Foundation, but lacks the funds and connections to make this happen.

The woman who inspired the series was a college dropout who had virtually no experience and did not have 60 million euros stashed away in a trust fund as she claimed. After inserting herself into the lives of New York's elite and allegedly hustling one business entity after another, her schemes finally caught up with her. In 2019, Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, was found guilty of six charges including grand larceny, theft of services, and attempted grand larceny for scamming hotels, restaurants, and a private jet company out of over $200,000, per The New York Times.

Throughout the Netflix series, the following disclaimer appears in the opening credits: "This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up." So what is the truth about the woman now known as the "Soho grifter?" We did a deep dive into all of it. So crack open the chardonnay, because we've got all the tea.

Where is Anna Sorokin now?

Anna Sorokin, who was sentenced to 4-12 years behind bars for her crimes, was released early for good behavior in February of 2021, per Insider. That behavior (her attitude actually) was questioned at a parole board hearing by Commissioner Marc Coppola, who was reacting to Sorokin's previous comments to The New York Times. "The thing is, I'm not sorry, " she reportedly said after her trial. "I'd be lying to you and to everyone else and to myself if I said I was sorry for anything."

Sorokin did an abrupt 180 to quell the parole board's concerns. "I just want to say that I'm really ashamed and I'm really sorry for what I did. I completely understand that a lot of people suffered when I thought I was not doing anything wrong," she put it, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by the New York Post. ICE, however, had other plans for the convicted felon with an expired visa.

Six weeks after her release, Sorokin was taken into ICE custody, and the threat of being deported to Germany loomed. Her attorney, Audrey A. Thomas, told Insider that one of the arguments to keep Sorokin in ICE custody stemmed from a comment she made to BBC: "When asked if crime pays, Anna Sorokin told BBC Newsnight: "In a way, it did." Thomas added that the ICE attorney pointed to Sorokin's Instagram posts as signs she "wasn't rehabilitated." One of those posts included Sorokin referring to New York as a "f***ing lawless city," per the Daily Mail.

The truth about her past

Anna Sorokin grew up outside of Moscow, then moved with her family to Eschweiler, a small town outside of Cologne, Germany, when she was a teen. Her father worked as a trucker, and later as a transportation executive. According to The New York Times, Sorokin claimed Delvey was her mother's maiden name. Nope, she made that up, say her parents, according to The Cut. "Sorokin" is a common surname in Russia, as noted by the Daily Mail, so Sorokin possibly didn't want to be identified as Russian or "common."

Sorokin moved to London to attend college, then dropped out and moved to Berlin for a fashion internship. In Berlin, she allegedly bilked several people out of cash, according to an acquaintance there, who said, "She screwed basically everyone," per The Cut. After Berlin, she landed an internship at Purple, a fashion, arts, and culture magazine based in Paris. Sorokin's parents, who didn't show up for any of their daughter's trials, said, "We always paid for her accommodations, her rent, and other matters ... She assured us these costs were the best investment."

After the verdict, her father, Vadim, told the Daily Mail, "It is down to her what she has done and it is something I am not comfortable to talk about." Earlier, he told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Prava that his daughter "has a selfish personality." "We are very concerned about her," he said. From jail, Anna admitted to The Cut, "My parents had high expectations. They always trusted me with my decision-making. I guess they regret it now."

Netflix paid Anna Sorokin over $300k for her story

According to Insider, Sorokin received $320,000 from Netflix to create the series based on her story. Before she could blow that dough on fancy restaurants and luxury hotels, she was legally bound to pay restitution to the creditors in her case and attorney fees, which ate up most of that money. Sorokin has filed for a direct appeal on her criminal charges, which if granted, could have her debts cleared.

According to legal expert Dmitriy Shakhnevich, "If the appeal would overturn her conviction, all with the judgment — financial and punitive and otherwise — would be gone." Sorokin's attorney, Audrey A. Thomas, explained that her client took the high road instead, reading Sorokin's statement: "You know, I want them to be paid. I didn't steal the money, but I do owe money, so I'm not going to fight it. That's not who I am."

Thomas said, "It clears her name and that's important. It's in her interest to pursue the appeal because she has her whole identity riding on this." Sorokin told the Daily Mail she's the only one who knows everything that went down and she wants to set the record straight. 'I'm the only person who can tell my story," she said, "No one else was with me the whole time, when all those things were happening." We haven't heard the last of Anna Sorokin, no matter where she ends up.

The con-artist's courtroom looks had a well-known stylist

Anna Sorokin's Soho chic lifestyle consisted of the most exclusive restaurants, soirées, and cultural events in the city. Of course, all of it was a fashion show. Why would her month-long courtroom battle be any different? Sorokin's defense attorney, Todd Spodek, told GQ in an email, "Anna's style was a driving force in her business, and life, and it is a part of who she is. I want the jury to see that side of her."

Spodek enlisted the services of Anastasia Walker for her expertise. A well-known stylist who has dressed celebrity clients including Courtney Love, T-Pain, and G-Eazy, Walker worked closely with Delvey to create her designer (and of course innocent) courtroom looks. A dedicated Instagram account, @annadelveycourtlooks, helped to create the buzz. According to the New York Post, after a mix-up on the first day of trial when Sorokin had no pants to wear, Spodek asked an associate [journalist Jessica Pressler] to rush to H&M and find an outfit "that didn't scream 'inmate.'"

Pressler told Vulture she supplied Sorokin's wardrobe a few other times, usually with no time to consider what a certain outfit might mean to the jurors. "It was like, 'What is on the sale rack that doesn't have something you can shiv someone with attached to it?"

A Sorokin accuser signed a deal with HBO for her story

In 2017, Anna Sorokin invited her friend Rachel Williams and a few others to join her for a fabulous getaway to the palatial Moroccan resort, La Mamounia, at Sorokin's expense. What wasn't so fabulous? Sorokin couldn't pay for any of it. After all of Sorokin's credit cards were declined, Williams offered to put down two of hers, per her article in Vanity Fair. "I was told that my card would not be charged," she wrote. 

After Williams got stuck with $62,000 in credit charges, she helped to set up a police sting that led to Sorokin's arrest in Los Angeles, per Insider. In 2019, Williams wrote a book about Sorokin, "My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress." Another series based on the book, which was optioned by Lena Dunham for production at HBO, is no longer in development, according to Vanity Fair.

Williams is now calling out Netflix for lauding Sorokin's behavior. "Netflix isn't just putting out a fictional story. It's effectively running a con woman's P.R. — and putting money in her pocket," she wrote for Air Mail. Williams noted the whole ordeal gave her a clearer picture of the real Anna Sorokin. "Anna told me once that her plans were either going to work out, or all go horribly wrong," read her Vanity Fair piece. "Now I see what she meant. It was a magic trick — I'm embarrassed to say that I was one of the props, and the audience, too."

A hotel concierge helped Anna Sorokin meet NYC's elite

Neff Davis, a concierge at Soho's posh 11 Howard hotel, is the woman who made introductions, reservations, and many connections that helped Anna Sorokin infiltrate New York's socialite world. In an interview with Bustle, Davis, who remains close with Sorokin, said she saw a side of Anna others may never know. "Her vulnerable side and comedic side make her so much fun to be around, because she has truly mastered sarcasm. The b***h is hilarious."

After seeing "Inventing Anna," Davis, who is portrayed by "The Bold Type" star Alexis Floyd, said she didn't know about the crimes. "Anna never scammed me and I never saw her not being legit." Davis said Sorokin had promised to fund the aspiring film director's dreams, and, "In a weird and sick way, she kept her word."

According to Marie Claire, Davis is in Los Angeles pursuing those dreams at the time of this writing, and she served as a consultant on "Inventing Anna." In an interview with okayplayer, she said, "Shonda [Rimes] was the first to say, 'we'll buy your life rights and you'll be a consultant. I got to go on set and I got to shadow Nzingha [Stewart] who's an amazing Black film director."

Who was the fake socialite's real-life boyfriend?

The character of Chase Sikorski in "Inventing Anna" is Anna's love interest who first appears in Episode 2. Chase, played by "Succession" actor Saamer Usmani, is described as a futurist who frequently gives TED talks, a tech guru working to develop an app that never happens, per the New York Post. The concept behind Chase's app is the ability to "'cloud source' your dreams."

The identity of the real Chase is still under wraps, but fans are buzzing about a few prospects, and one candidate seems to be at the top of everyone's list. Hunter Lee Soik, 40, is a Korean-American futurist who created an app involving dreams called Shadow. In a 2014 interview with Fast Company, Soik said, "If we want to make the world's largest database of dreams, we need the world on our side."

Soik is mentioned in a 2014 post on Delvey's Instagram. Plus, per Cheat Sheet, "Inventing Anna" seemed to reference a 2013 photo of a chessboard he shared on Twitter with the words, "REMEMBER YOUR DREAMS." Is it all a bunch of coincidences? Maybe so, but the Twittersphere is definitely following all the clues. One person tweeted, "For anyone wondering the futurist/ted-talking boyfriend seems to be one Hunter Lee Soik ... and yes I am full on obsessed with this story." Yeah, we are too. 

Anna Sorokin's connection to another famous swindler

Did the scammer scam another con artist? According to a Page Six inside source, the "Soho grifter" may have bilked Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland for several months of free rent at his Soho loft. Apparently, the convicted fraudster was too "polite and nonconfrontational" to ask Anna Sorokin to leave. In 2018, McFarland, a former entrepreneur, was sentenced to six years behind bars for fraud.

His Fyre Festival allegedly charged concertgoers up to $12,000 for what he called "the cultural experience of the decade" and gave them disaster relief tents and cheese sandwiches, per The New York Times. Back in 2013, Sorokin moved into the Soho headquarters of McFarland's "black card" credit card company Magnises and stayed for four months. An insider told Page Six, "Anna knew people on Billy's team. She just asked to stay for a few days ... then she wouldn't leave."

Magnises, which went belly-up that year in the wake of the Fyre Festival debacle, (per Fortune) was known for hosting upscale events on-site, and Sorokin, of course, was always up for a good time. "She hung out and went to the parties," said the source. "She was there, just sitting there — all the time." McFarland reportedly only "hinted" to Sorokin she should leave. Eventually, his entire company set up shop elsewhere. "That's the only way they got her out!"

What happened when Julia Garner met Anna Sorokin

When "Ozark" star Julia Garner met the woman she would be portraying, Anna Sorokin was griping about having to taking a "stupid culinary arts" class, per Town & Country. "I kind of love that about her, in a sick way," Garner said. "She's in a full jumpsuit saying, 'I'm obviously not going to make myself food when I get out of jail." Garner wanted to know how Sorokin felt about the events that landed her in jail. "People don't have to agree with what Anna did, but I want to help them understand why she did it," she said.

The "Maniac" star did find Sorokin "extremely charming" and "very gentle." Sorokin, on the other hand, wanted something from Garner. There has been a lot of talk about Garner's accent in "Inventing Anna" (per ABC News), with one critic vacillating between "terrible" and "perfect." Sorokin needed to hear it firsthand. "I don't feel like I sound like that," she later told Insider.

Garner explained to IndieWire that learning the accent was a unique challenge because, "This is a girl who said that she was German, and people believed it, but she actually was born in Russia, so she's not going to have a Russian accent." The star of "The Assistant" also noted that some people with foreign accents  "when they let their walls down — either they get excited or they get emotional — their accent comes out more."

How Inventing Anna changed the glamorous grifter's life

Anna Sorokin hoped that after "Inventing Anna," she would have already reinvented herself. Being locked up with an uncertain future has given her a different perspective. As she wrote in an essay from prison obtained by Insider, "I imagined for the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end." Now Sorokin doesn't even want to watch the series.

"Even if I were to pull some strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me." She contracted COVID-19 in prison and was in quarantine isolation at Orange County Correctional Facility in upstate New York when she wrote the essay. "I can't help but feel like an afterthought, the somber irony of being confined to a cell at yet another horrid correctional facility lost between the lines, the history repeating itself," she mused.

She claims her "visa overstay was unintentional" and mostly out of her control. Sorokin believes she has done her time and deserves her freedom. Still, she has many more questions than answers: "Will I forever be judged by my early-to-mid 20s? Is there anything else I could possibly have done to close this chapter?" Only time, and likely a few judges, will tell.

The fraudster says she 'never scammed people'

According to The Cut, Anna Sorokin "never admitted any guilt." She believed her private social club project was going to happen. "I never scammed people — my crimes were against financial institutions," she told the Daily Mail. The definition of fraud in America is that you permanently deprive people of funds or property, and I don't feel as though that was ever my intention."

Attorney Todd Spodek backs up her claim that she never intentionally hurt anyone. "This is not a woman who was actively working against the general moral fabric," he told Insider. "The money she asked for was going to the business. It would be a much different case if she was going to get the money, get on a plane, and run." As you can imagine, there are those who aren't so forgiving.

Like Marc Kremers, who claims Sorokin owes his Paris-based marketing firm about $23,000 for its services. He hounded her for the money week after week for a year, and every time he asked, he got another excuse. "I think she's a fantasist and now her fantasy has become intrinsically entwined with her life," he said. "It's annoying that people still admire her and believe she had guts to play this big, elaborate trick on New York."

Anna Sorokin's big plans for her future

Last year, when she was first released from prison and out on parole, Anna Sorokin wasted no time trying to cash in on her newfound fame. According to the Daily Mail, she booked herself into an upscale hotel, signed magazine and TV deals, and turned her parole board appointments into social media photo ops, arriving in a limo and dressed in designer outfits.

At the time of this writing, her fate lies in the hands of the U.S. judicial system, which will ultimately determine if Sorokin is deported to Germany. In a recent interview with The New York Times, she said, "There is definitely a lot more to my story that I'd like to share, adding that there are "multiple projects" in the works including a podcast and a documentary project. "I'm also working on a book about my time in jail."

Will the public fascination with the "fake German heiress" continue? One follower on Instagram recently wrote about her, "You are an incredible genius!!" while another person commented, "She is a danger to herself and society. Delusional." At the end of the day, Sorokin says she just wants a second chance. "I'm just trying to shed light on how I made the best out of my situation, without trying to glorify it," she told The New York Times. And she confessed to the Daily Mail, "I know I made questionable choices, but to the people who think badly of me, I'd like the chance to prove them wrong."